To see or not to see: lateral organization of biological membranes and fluorescence microscopy

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Oct;1758(10):1541-56. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2006.05.019. Epub 2006 Jun 2.


In the last few years several experimental strategies based on epi-, confocal and two photon excitation fluorescence microscopy techniques have been employed to study the lateral structure of membranes using giant vesicles as model systems. This review article discusses the methodological aspects of the aforementioned experimental approaches, particularly stressing the information obtained by the use of UV excited fluorescent probes using two-photon excitation fluorescence microscopy. Additionally, the advantages of utilizing visual information, to correlate the lateral structure of compositionally simple membranes with complex situations, i.e., biological membranes, will be addressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry
  • 2-Naphthylamine / analogs & derivatives
  • 2-Naphthylamine / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning / methods
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure*
  • Laurates / chemistry
  • Macrophages / ultrastructure
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton / methods
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / chemistry
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Laurates
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • 1,2-Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • 1,2-linoleoylphosphatidylcholine
  • 2-Naphthylamine
  • laurdan